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​​Our Fundamental Physical Space: An Essay on the Metaphysics of the Wave Function

Chen, Eddy Keming (2017) ​​Our Fundamental Physical Space: An Essay on the Metaphysics of the Wave Function. The Journal of Philosophy, 114 (7). pp. 333-365. ISSN 0022-362X

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Abstract

The mathematical structure of realist quantum theories has given rise to a debate about how our ordinary 3-dimensional space is related to the 3N-dimensional configuration space on which the wave function is defined. Which of the two spaces is our (more) fundamental physical space? I review the debate between 3N-Fundamentalists and 3D-Fundamentalists and evaluate it based on three criteria. I argue that when we consider which view leads to a deeper understanding of the physical world, especially given the deeper topological explanation from the unordered configurations to the Symmetrization Postulate, we have strong reasons in favor of 3D-Fundamentalism. I conclude that our evidence favors the view that our fundamental physical space in a quantum world is 3-dimensional rather than 3N-dimensional. I outline lines of future research where the evidential balance can be restored or reversed. Finally, I draw lessons from this case study to the debate about theoretical equivalence.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Chen, Eddy Kemingeddykemingchen@ucsd.edu0000-0001-5144-0952
Keywords: wave function, foundations of quantum mechanics, Bohmian mechanics, GRW, Everett, fundamentality, spacetime, identical particles, Symmetrization Postulate, Manifest Image
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Explanation
General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Dr. Eddy Keming Chen
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2021 17:59
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2021 17:59
Item ID: 19735
Journal or Publication Title: The Journal of Philosophy
Publisher: The Journal of Philosophy, Inc
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.5840/jphil2017114724
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.5840/jphil2017114724
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Explanation
General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: July 2017
Page Range: pp. 333-365
Volume: 114
Number: 7
ISSN: 0022-362X
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19735

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